In a recent case, the New Jersey Superior Court has ruled that if you are seeking to terminate or modify your obligation to pay alimony to your former spouse because you are planning to retire, you should only do so when the retirement is in the near future. The court suggested twelve to eighteen months prior to your retirement date is a reasonable timeframe. Any longer than that timeframe between the retirement date and an application to terminate or modify alimony may invite significant speculation by the court as to the circumstances that will be in place for both ex-spouses at the time of retirement and this guesswork may ignore life circumstances such as the parties’ health and economic situation which could substantially alter when retirement actually takes place.
Moreover, the court also added that when you request termination of alimony based on your upcoming retirement, you should have a specifically detailed plan for retirement as opposed to a general desire to retire because the court wants to see evidence that the applicant definitely plans to retire. See Mueller v. Mueller, N.J. Super. Chancery Div. Family Part-Ocean Cty., (L.R. Jones, J.S.C.) FM-15-619-05
Bottom line when planning for retirement and the termination of support obligations, follow the sage advice of Winston Churchill…. “It is a mistake to look too far ahead. Only one link of the chain of destiny can be handled at a time.”